HSci 2005   July 13 -16, 2005 - University of Crete campus at Rethymno - Greece.
Opening Session:      Welcome Address by P. G. Michaelides, Professor at The University of Crete
HSci2005 - 2nd International Conference Hands-on Science: Science in a changing Education
A common feature of the Education reforms effected lately or under way in most of the European and other countries is the ever increasing importance they assign to Science education. Whatever the motives are, the effectiveness of Science teaching in schools, in Technical and Vocational education and, also, in Higher education becomes a crucial parameter for the success of Science education.
Although effectiveness of Science teaching has to be considered in relation to the objectives and the aims of the specific Science curriculum, in all ways, practice work (with laboratory experiments, observations, project assignments, relation of Science to everyday life, etc) plays a very important role in the understanding of Science.
In technology dependent modern societies an ever increasing number of decisions are based on Science and Technology developments. Consequentially, the citizens’ active conscious participation (which is the foundation of Democracy) to these decisions, requires a sound Science and Technology Literacy. In this sense, practice work in Science teaching acquires new importance.
The Hands-on Science (HSci) network, which is supported by the European Commission, organizes as one of its activities annual International Conferences focused on Hands-on Science activities. The HSci 2004 International Conference was successfully organized in Ljubljana, Slovenia, 5 – 9 July, 2004 and details may be found in the proceedings and in the web site http://www.hsci.info/hsci2004/.
The HSci 2005 is organized 13 – 16 July 2005 at The University of Crete campus in Rethimno-Crete, Greece (http://www.clab.edc.uoc.gr/2nd/). The conference program includes Oral presentations in plenary and in parallel sessions, Poster presentations, a Comenius Contact Seminar focusing on the formation of new consortia within the European Union SOCRATES program, Science Fair activities, Exhibitions of apparatuses and instruments, computers and software, and other means, useful to Science education, etc.
Although the majority of participants come from Europe, the persons who have submitted their work or otherwise expressed their interest to participate in the HSci 2005 International Conference represent more than 27 countries from the five continents, a fact I consider as an indication of international high calibre.
The works submitted vary extensively in their contents and include research papers, software teaching aids, teaching approaches, hands-on constructions, etc. Within the context of this Conference, we address the research area but we also value the school operation and practice. Therefore, the works accepted as Conference activities were selected either because they exhibit a high research standard or because they consider in a fresh and often in an innovative way the school Science teaching thus providing alternatives to choose for an effective Science teaching. The mixture resulted is represented in the Conference Program and also in the Conference Proceedings.
As president of the Local Organizing Committee, I have the privilege to to welcome all of you to the HSci 2005 International Conference. I wish you a fruitful stay.
Rethimno, July 2005        P. G. Michaelides, Professor at The University of Crete